Independent Third Parties. As provided for in Civil Code §5110(b), inspectors may include the following:
- a volunteer poll worker with the county registrar of voters,
- a licensee of the California Board of Accountancy,
- a notary public, and
- a member of the association (who is not a member of the board of directors or a candidate for the board of directors or related to a member of the board of directors or a candidate for the board of director).
Professional Inspectors of Election. There are companies that provide professional inspector services to associations. They can be hired to prepare ballots, mail and collect ballots, and count votes. Putting an Inspector under contract does not violate the independent status of the Inspector. Civil Code §5110 provides that "An independent third party may not be a person . . . who is currently employed or under contract to the association." As long as the Inspector is not currently employed by the association for other services, the board can hire the person to run the election.
Non-Independent Inspectors. There is another category of inspectors who are not truly independent but the statute defines them as "independent" for purposes of the statute. Examples are the association's CPA firm and management company.
Prohibited Inspectors. Associations may not appoint or use inspectors who are:
- members of the board of directors,
- a candidate for the board of directors, or
- related to a member of the board of directors.
When to Appoint. Inspectors should be selected early in the election process.
Duties. The duties of an inspector are fairly broad. Civil Code §5110(c) lists those duties as follows:
(1) Determine the number of memberships entitled to vote and the voting power of each.
(2) Determine the authenticity, validity, and effect of proxies, if any.
(3) Receive ballots.
(4) Hear and determine all challenges and questions in any way arising out of or in connection with the right to vote.
(5) Count and tabulate all votes.
(6) Determine when the polls shall close, consistent with the governing documents.
(7) Determine the tabulated results of the election.
(8) Perform any acts as may be proper to conduct the election with fairness to all members in accordance with this article, the Corporations Code, and all applicable rules of the association regarding the conduct of the election that are not in conflict with this article.
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